2020 Subaru AscentFeatures & Specs2020 Toyota Highlander
277Powertrain Torque Output (lb-ft)263
21AWD City Fuel Economy (mpg)20
8.7Min Ground Clearance (in)8.0
60.3/57.22nd/3rd Row Shoulder Room (in)58.7/55.0

2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Toyota Highlander

The mid-size SUV has become a dominant favorite for families, with passenger capacities of a minivan while offering spacious interiors and higher-end performance. Two 8-passenger SUVs that stand out to us here at Reedman-Toll Subaru are the 2020 Subaru Ascent and the 2020 Toyota Highlander! Both of these SUVs have great interior volume for comfortable seating as well as high-end powertrains that offer reliable and strong performance. In this article, we'll breakdown some of the finer details of each SUV and decide which one we think stands out more!

2020 Subaru Ascent Power & Handling

Under the hood of each 2020 Ascent is an advanced 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-4 engine, which is a staple across other Subaru models. This engine works hard, being capable of pushing out 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. We are impressed to see that Subaru offers all-wheel-drive as the standard configuration with the Ascent, giving the driver enhanced traction and control in slippery conditions. The Ascent also comes mated with a continuously variable transmission, which foregoes standard gear shifting giving a smooth linear acceleration. The fuel economy is decent for the Ascent, being able to drive 21/27 mpg in the city/highway respectively.

2020 Toyota Highlander Power & Handling

Similar to the 2020 Ascent, Toyota offers a single gasoline engine option with the 2020 Highlander, which is a 3.5-liter V6 engine. This engine has decent power output and spreads it effectively to the road, but the 263 lb-ft torque output is a bit lower than what we see from the 2020 Ascent. The overall powertrain systems in the highlander work well with the engine, but Toyota does not equip the Highlander standard with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) configuration like we see Subaru do with the Ascent. The fuel economy for the Highlander is a highlight but misses out when equipped with AWD having a lower city rating compared to the Ascent. Toyota does offer a hybrid powertrain alternative to help with the fuel economy, but this causes the Highlander to lose out on tow capacity and overall power and torque outputs.

2020 Subaru Ascent Features & Design

The Ascent comes with a choice between one of four different great trim models, each one having a varying degree of comfort/convenience-based features available. Each Ascent starts off with Subaru's award-winning symmetrical all-wheel-drive configuration with a high-torque CVT for responsive steering and control. Other key features that come standard with each 2020 Ascent includes tri-zone automatic climate control, powered windows with auto-up/down functionality, a rearview camera, a multitude of cup holders and additional storage compartments, split-folding rear seating, and Subaru's STARLINK multimedia system housed on a high-resolution 6.5-inch touchscreen display. Subaru also brings in a multitude of safety features with each model including the EyeSight package that includes features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and more! Working up to higher trims we see premium upholstery sets worked in as well as LED headlights that activate automatically and include high beam assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seating, a powered liftgate with automatic closing, and much more!

2020 Toyota Highlander Features & Design

Toyota works to bring in a strong suit of features and specifications with the Highlander; the interior of the Highlander is spacious and roomy for passengers and cargo alike similar to the Subaru Ascent; the Highlander, however, doesn't quite have as much room compared to the Ascent for back-row passengers, having a lower shoulder/hip room as well as legroom. The Highlander also works in a decent starting feature list that is similar to the Ascent's, bringing in features such as multiple cupholders, automatic climate control, an infotainment system housed on a touchscreen display, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and a backup camera. While the Highlander brings in many of the great features that we see from the Ascent, you either need to purchase a more expensive trim model or bring in optional packages to match some of the features; this also stacks on top of the Highlander having an average starting higher price when compared to the Ascent's base trim model.


The 2020 Highlander is a solid SUV option, with a roomy interior but doesn't quite have as much room as the Ascent for rear passengers. The powertrain worked in the Ascent is a strong aspect of the SUV, with a great performance as well as configuring each model standard with all-wheel-drive, which we don't see with the Highlander. Overall, if we had to pick a favored 3-row SUV in this matchup, we'd have to go with the 2020 Subaru Ascent, for the roomy passenger space as well as great safety and convenience feature list that comes with each model. If you are interested in checking out a 2020 Ascent or other great Subaru model, come on over to our dealership here in Langhorne, PA! Our friendly dealers are happy to help answer any questions you may have and set you up with a test drive at your convenience!

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